(CNN) – Throughout Europe, beaches are socially prepared for the first distant foreign visitors, hotels are ventilated and restaurants are making tables in the open air. With borders now open, the travel industry is trying to save the busiest tourist season as much as possible.
Currently, almost everyone is invited, but despite the tempting expectation of the blue Mediterranean and bluish sky, a country does not come – and people are very angry with it.
Summer holidays for the UK can still be canceled.
Although it seems to have emerged from one of the continent’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, the country has suddenly decided to hit its borders by implementing a 14-day quarantine that says critics will torpedle the last pieces of hope for the travel industry.
Unless the rules change soon, millions of British people hoping to lighten their blue after crashing into warmer climates will have to scrape their plans unless they want to endure forced isolation or receive a £ 1000 fine on their return – – about $ 1,250.
And for Britain’s tourism industry, the possibility of absorbing much-needed foreign tourist dollars is quickly disappearing. Britain has many attractions, but two weeks of imprisonment in the same room is not the reason people visit this prime island.
If it is not enough to eliminate frustrations, it seems that the new regulations are far from strict implementation, the new regulations will only be slightly policated after they come into effect on June 8, and will appear with spot controls that might miss the virus carriers they were designed for. keeping it in isolation.
This was implemented much earlier in the pandemic, as opposed to much stricter measures in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
There are allegations that visitors or returnees may benefit from a “Dublin dodge” since those coming from the Republic of Ireland will be exempted from quarantine. They can theoretically travel from anywhere and cross the UK’s close neighbor.
‘Blunt economic tool’
Greece opens its beaches and welcomes foreign visitors.
Byron Smith / Getty Images
And the rules were too late for some, he asked why the borders of Britain remained open during the virus outbreak, and the country was restricted as it eased social constraints.
“There is no doubt that quarantine will be most effective at the start of the pandemic in early March,” says Paul Charles, founder and CEO of the PC Agency, representing tourism boards, including Ireland. Major brands and operators in the UK, as well as New Zealand and Finland.
“If you look at countries that successfully overcome coronavirus such as New Zealand and Vietnam, they have something in common. They put quarantines in the first place. This was WHO recommendation. But our government never did that. when they have a testing and monitoring system, they don’t realize they’re doing it … they’re using a blind economic tool to keep cases low.
There are some exceptions to the quarantine rules. Truck drivers, Covid-19 front health workers and elite athletes coming for bio-safe football or cricket matches, or F1’s British Grand Prix in late July will be exempted.
Everyone else will be asked to fill out a form that fines £ 100 before arrival and will give the government an address for where they plan to isolate it for two weeks.
While those who violate UK conditions are fined £ 1,000, only one-fifth of travelers are expected to receive on-site checks. The Metropolitan Police force, which covers London, said he had no time to implement it.
Some conditions of the quarantine have further raised questions about its possible effectiveness. Incoming travelers will be able to go to their destination by public transport and go to their accommodation to stay. Hong Kong arrivals are given a prison-style bracelet and they are told not to leave the hotel rooms required by the government for two weeks.
‘Right move, wrong time’
Restaurants are reopening in France, where restrictions are lifted to other EU countries.
BERTRAND GUAY / AFP via Getty Images
Why now? The UK government says that quarantines were introduced in June, precisely because other countries were opened, and that new coronavirus cases from abroad mean a higher risk.
“Passengers from overseas can become a high proportion of the total number of infections in the UK and therefore increase the spread of the disease,” British Home Secretary Priti Patel told parliament on Wednesday. Said.
The announcement drew condemnation from members of the ruling Conservative Party and the main opposition Workers’ Party. Deputy Liam Fox, a former Conservative trade minister, described the issue as “unnecessary economic isolation” that would prevent post-virus recovery.
“If such an obstacle is necessary, why has it not been used before in the outbreak?” added. Conservative lawmaker Steve Brine called him “the right move at the wrong time”.
A repeat review by tour operator Red Savannah CEO George Morgan-Grenville. The government prefers to ignore the destruction that companies, employment, and the lives of everyone whose jobs will be lost, by maintaining their quarantine plans without considering the economic consequences. ”
“I think it’s too late,” says Brian Young, general manager of G Adventures, who offers small group tours around the world. “The impact on the entire industry is shaking customer confidence. It takes time to start. If the quarantine continues after the end of June, the summer season will be completely lost. Places like Greece are very dependent on tourism and they can’t afford to lose all their summer.”
Patel defended his government’s measures against questions about why quarantine was not brought before to prevent tens of thousands of people who continue to enter the country as Covid-19 infections rise.
“Some have suggested that public health measures should be taken when the virus is at the top. However, then scientific advice is clear that such measures will make little difference when internal transmission is common,” he told parliament. Said.
The government’s claim to implement quarantine no longer believed in the wider travel industry.
300 companies, including luxury players Black Tomato and Kuoni, as well as major players such as Travelbag and Netflights, approved a letter requesting quarantine before being sent to Patel.
A new survey on 124 UK travel and hospitality business owners and CEOs found that 60% expect to make staff unnecessary after the measures come into force. A total of 94% believe that summer reservations will be lost when quarantine is applied. Meanwhile, 99% believes that the policy will harm the economy. Tourism accounts for about four million jobs in 11% of the total workforce in the UK.
German foreign minister Heiko Maas said his country will advise against non-mandatory travel to Britain as long as quarantine measures are taken.
People coming to England will be allowed to travel to quarantine places by public transport.
TOLGA AKMEN / AFP via Getty Images
Mirjam Peternek-McCartney, CEO of travel communications company Lemongrass Marketing, reveals everything clearly. “Tour operators are suffering, carriers are suffering, hoteliers are suffering, and UK cities that host international tourists like London and Oxford will see many businesses that are entirely based on tourism.”
Robin Sheppard, founder and president of Bespoke Hotels Group, the largest independent hotel group in Britain, says he was stunned by the schedule.
“I would know if he came on March 23, but now he looks so stupid, so inaccurate to introduce,” he said. “I disagree with the original feeling, just the wrong time. Not listening to the public’s reaction to it and correcting the plan is just insane.”
In another letter from Patel and Britain’s foreign minister Dominic Raab on June 1, Advantage Travel Partnership CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said expressed concern that the government viewed the opposition to quarantine as the concern of luxury operators. .
He denied this and demanded that quarantine plans come to an end because of the smaller companies fear of being fired. In addition, the current UK Department of Foreign Affairs called the bridges, which warned against all necessary travel, asked for changes to the travel recommendation.
A bridge too far?
The latter became a hot topic and forced the idea that roads to countries with low infection rates could be built by bypassing the quarantine need. About 94% of UK travel companies are said to support the plan.
The Portuguese foreign minister has already said that with such plans, it would be happy to welcome Britain’s tourists in late June. Spain and Italy are welcome to the British, who are desperate to go abroad this year, and to increase the vital tourism sectors.
“The government needs to speak the word ‘quarantine’ and talk about the right things to do in terms of health, as well as air bridges, testing and monitoring, which are the right things to help the economy recover,” says Paul Charles. “Talking about quarantine measures is damaging reservations. They have collapsed in the past three weeks. There is no sale in the industry in April, there is no sale in May, and now it is unlikely to happen in June. People are worried about getting stuck on their return.”
In a statement to parliament, Patel said the air bridges option is being actively explored and quarantine measures will be reviewed three weeks later.
Sean Moriarty, CEO of the Quinta do Lago resort in the Algarve region of Portugal, said that the establishment of such free roaming corridors would help but not be enough.
“We are aware that passengers will be more careful about going on vacation, even if the air bridges are in place,” he said. “However, from July to October, we are witnessing a huge increase in reservations and inquiries for extended villa holidays in Quinta do Lago, where guests will work from home and use spare rooms for offices or studies.”
Will UK travelers be accepted?
CNN’s Atika Shubert reported ongoing plans in Spain to alleviate foreign travel restrictions in an effort to meet tourists again, despite concerns about Covid-19.
The question remains whether destinations with unlimited travel links to the UK will be happy to welcome their citizens as visitors. The country’s mortality rate from Covid-19 is the second highest in the world after the United States, with nearly 40,000 deaths. Infection rates remain in about 1,500 new cases per day. Why do countries that manage to suppress the disease in Europe run the risk of admitting UK visitors?
“There is no doubt that some of our customers are cautious about meeting British visitors very quickly,” said Paul Charles. “A measured approach is important. As technology improves, the number of cases decreases and more confidence returns, many will understand that British visitors will travel from July. The key is to bring back trust.”
This trust seems to exist, but quarantine means businesses can’t see a way to appeal to UK visitors.
“During this epidemic, we often met with our local hosts around the world to get their thoughts and opinions on the situation in their local communities,” said guides and hotels that offer outdoor adventures in countries such as Costa Rica and Romania. ” They understand the principle behind it [quarantine]but naturally he is concerned about the damage done to the business world and local economies. Many want to come back and get adventurers back from the UK to speed up as quickly as possible.
“Most of our destinations with the lowest infection rates are preparing to open their borders with well-defined plans to manage risk, including strong testing capacity on arrival, but still return to the UK, which cannot retreat their UK customers due to the quarantine they face.”
Robin Sheppard reflects Bruce’s view, saying that overseas companies do not believe they are concerned about British travel. “I don’t think they see us as a parya or some kind of mistake in the world,” he says. He adds, however, that many people from the UK do not believe they will blow up this summer. “Many British have already resigned not to have an international holiday this year,” he says.
Despite this, the tourist boards already offer incentives to persuade the British to make a reservation later in the summer in order to sink the business.
“Even if we can’t go almost anywhere, many places are willing to welcome us again, and some places – such as Sicily – offer discounts and freebies to attract tourists,” says co-brand Ant Clarke-Cowell. Director at Holiday Extras “Others, like Cyprus, offer to cover the health care costs of visitors who are sick there,” he said.
For Brian Young from G Adventures, measures at UK airports, including temperature controls and the protection of airlines that require passengers to wear face covers, should address concerns from suppliers that they work with around the world.
“Necessary measures are taken to ensure customer welfare.” “It’s time to start opening and moving.”
However, it is seen whether Young has fulfilled his wish and whether British travelers will go up to the skies this summer.
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